Tuesday, August 30, 2011

We are Official!!!

I was working late tonight and the first thing I did when done was check my email.  Boy, was I surprised when I saw an email subject header that said, "Application Approved!!"

I called for my husband and he was excited, and surprised as I was. I was expecting Friday or even Tuesday (Monday being a holiday).  Boy, I sure do hope that this is a sign that maybe things will go faster than expected, not slower, but I'm not placing any bets!

The email came at 7:26 PM.  So I missed it by 2 hours.  The email read, "Thank you for submitting your application. Congratulations, your application has been reviewed and is approved!!  Please open and print the attached Orientation Packet, you will find a cover letter with detailed instructions concerning the documents.

For your convenience, I have also attached the USCIS application (I-800a) and a sample.  These documents are NOT submitted until your home study is completed and is ready to be sent to USCIS.  See attached packet for more information.
Upon receipt of your signed Fee Agreement, first fee payment and Service Agreements, we will send you an e-mail with your family’s password that will allow you to access the secured portion of our website and the instructions to download your Adoption Dossier Guide,  Home Study Packet and access to our Hague accredited, Parent Training Program. Please let me know if you are unable to receive this attachment. We look forward to serving you!"

There was even this cute animated pic at the end of the email!  Gotta love pandas!  Makes me think of my fur kid, Dawson, only because they're both black and white. 

We're stoked!!  It's too late to celebrate... well maybe one Mike's Hard Lemonade.  It's been a long day. :)

Yay!!  Now time to go through all the attachments!
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Friday, August 26, 2011

Application was Received!

I just got an email from the adoption agency my husband and I picked out!  That was fast, we mailed it Wednesday.  Only 2 days!!

It reads, "We are pleased that you have taken the first step in completing a China adoption!  Your application was received at our office on 08/26/11 and the review/approval process will be completed within 5 business days.  (We have a two step approval process, so it may take a few days to complete the approval!)

Once your application is approved, we will call you and send you our Approval Packet via email.    

Thank you again for choosing us to serve your family through this journey of a lifetime."

So we may know before labor day if we are to start the long red thread journey!  If so, I better be patient for the week-long wait.  This will be one of the shorter wait times from all the things I'll have to wait on!

Now to start on the house SUPER clean weekend... yay-sorta!  I'll being saying a BIG yay when it's done.
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Thursday, August 25, 2011

SUV Repairs with a Twist

My husband and I turned in our application and are very excited.  But we know that there are some hefty payments that are coming up to process paperwork and the home study etc... 

Well, we were very leery, but had to have my husband's SUV serviced.  The brakes had to be replaced.  When he had it seen today he was told the brakes had to be replaced, the rotors had to be replaced, the line had to be flushed and clean the calipers.  It came up to quite a pretty price.

My husband told the mechanic, "Ow!  This comes at the worst time.  We just sent in our paperwork for adoption and all our money is tied up into that."

The mechanic instantly said, "Let's go to the back room."

My husband didn't know what to think.  Maybe a payment plan?

The mechanic smiled and explained, "I just want to let you know I was adopted at age 3.  Without someone like you I would have never made it. Let's see what I can do for you."

After some figuring and the mechanic taking out his cost of labor, the cost of repairs came up to less than half that was originally quoted!!  The SUV is all fixed up and taken care of!

My husband was so surprised he called me immediately to tell me our good fortune! 

It amazing how miracles big and small happen.  Many don't know how to start saving for adopting, especially with "everyday problems/repairs" that come up. We didn't know either, but you can't wait for perfection; it never comes.  So you just do your best and somehow some things take care of themselves. 

Thank God we went to this particular mechanic.  He definitely got customers for life!
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Anniversary...First Step

Today is the 10th anniversary my husband and I met.  It's a big deal to us.  Only 4 years of marriage, but 10 years of friendship.  We didn't date until months later after we met.  We just weren't interested.  Things change.

Anyhow, I'm dressed to the nines today.  I'm wearing a fun black, blue, red, green number.  It's so Donna Reed.  I have a full skirt and everything.  My husband and I are going out tonight. 

But we aren't just celebrating the day we met.  We're celebrating being official!  Today we mailed out our application to our agency!  Yay!!  I can finally say after making the decision to adopt, we are now on the official track!!  It's like we just took our first step!

So once they receive it it should take about 5 business days for them to get back with us to say yes or no.  We of course are assuming a "yes", we met the requirements and after several disscussions with the agency we're 90% sure we'll be accepted.  But you never know.  But as of today we're celebrating anyway!

Then we start the first leg of the paper chase and the "dreaded" home study.  All the things needed for the dossier which gets sent to China.  This will be the 6-7 month process of gathering everything.  But at least then I can plan and get a schedule going.  We'll see how fast or more likely how slow we'll get through that. 

We'll seal the floors tomorrow and start SUPER cleaning the house this weekend for the home study.  I'm actually looking forward to having the house super cleaned.  Not the process, but the results.  I hope we can accomplish it all this weekend.  If not, that's fine, but I'd like to get some things done on schedule, which would be ahead of schedule to me.

So BIG day today!!  Our first step in adoption and our meeting anniversary.  Seems perfect!
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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Birthday Celebrations

Today is my husband's birthday.  We had a wonderful date night to celebrate.  The weather was PERFECT.  Great breeze, cloudy day and temperate couldn't be better.  So we ate outside at the McAlister's Deli restaurant.  My husband got his sweet tea he loves!!  Then we saw a movie, "One Day".  It was a little sad.  I wasn't expecting it to be a tear-jerker, but it was still good.  So it was a lovely time.

What topped the night off is we saw a couple with their (which we assumed was their adoptive) Chinese daughter, about 6 or 7 years old, at Dairy Queen, eating ice cream.  It was so nice to see.  My husband said, "That will be us one day."  It was a touching moment for us, even if they didn't know or see us.  Let's hope it was a sign of our future, a little moment God showed us of what we will have one day.  Just a glimpse into our future, in honor of my husband's birthday. Now there's a good birthday wish granted, if I do say so myself.
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Friday, August 19, 2011

Help Me, Mr. Mutt!

A book store was closing for good and was having a clearance sale.  My husband and I thought we'd go see what deals they may have.

We found a couple of good BBC movies.  Then of course we made our way over to the children's section. We looked for any good books, like ones we've gotten for our goddaughter.  We found one.

It's adorable!  So we got our Ashton her first book.  Though I'm sure she'll have many others.

I found the book and only flipped through the first couple pages and knew instantly that this would be a great book for our family.  I promptly found my husband down the next book isle and showed it to him.  He too only flipped through it and said instantly said, "We're getting it".  It's such as "us" book.

It is called "Help Me, Mr. Mutt! Expert Answers for Dogs with People Problems"  As we have 5 dogs and 3 cats, to have a book about a dog answering distress letters from other dogs about their owners or cats, was too cute to pass up!  It's beautifully illustrated too.  I love beautifully illustrated books.  I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but does that count for judging a book by its illustrations?

I do want to get "I Love You Like Crazy Cakes!" and other similar books, but the bookstore didn't have them.  But not to worry, I will get them, eventually.  I have many years to accumulate a library for her. 

I even have some of my favorite children's books from my childhood I can pass down to her, which I am very excited to share with her.  Now it will be like bringing them back to life.  It will be cool to see someone love the stories I did.  Or bore her to death with them.  Depends how she takes them I guess.  :)

I'm so looking forward to reading her bedtime stories.  And my husband can do voices, so she'll be in for a real treat!  She'll so prefer him reading than me.  So I'm hoping it's something we can do together.

Of course, the moment I got home I took the book's pictures (on our new tile floor I might add) and had to share!
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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Almost There?

One would think getting information that is yours from work would be simple.  However, my husband has had quite the turnaround.  By the time he got his password, he got in and was able to ask for the info to be mailed to him.  I guess he had to get a password to get into the stuff that was his, but it still didn't give us the numbers we were looking for that is needed for the application.  So he had to ask for this info to be mailed.  Yet where is it? 

I can't tell my husband to do anything faster, I just ask if any updates today or if anything in the mail, and he says no.  Then I ask if he's contacted work again, and he says he's going through the channels.  Whatever that means.  So I'm trying to be patient.

In the mean time, I did get the doll with the blue hair.  She's very pretty.  Her head is top heavy so she looks "dead".  I feel as if I should shove a rod up her to keep her head straight.  But I would just ruin the doll.  I guess that is what a rag doll does, be limp.  But I thought the head would hold itself up.  Oh, well.

As for the tiling, it's all down and grouted, but not sealed.  We had to wait 10 days.  Then we had to put some de-hazer on it and scrub.  So we did all that and mopped again with water over and over.  So then we should seal it this weekend and put the floorboards back and then we should be 100% done.  But I hate to think that as there is always something else that holds back... kind of like the application.  But it will be done right.  That's what counts.
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Friday, August 12, 2011

Being Noble

I hadn't talked with my father since the initial phone call telling him that we were adopting.  Nothing wrong with that, he lives many states away, we just chat shortly about once a month.

The time I initially told him, he was rather speechless.  It was a very short conversation, but I knew he was supporting me.

Anyhow, I called him last night so he could talk to my husband and me this time.  My dad adores my husband.  Sometimes I swear he likes to talk to him more than me.

Well, this time my father sounded normal.  He spoke a lot.  My father is rarely speechless.  So it was good to hear him talk the way I'm used to.  He answered the phone, "On your way to China yet?"  He is very excited.  He had us on speaker so his wife could join the conversation.  She's very sweet.

I also had it on speaker so both my husband and I can could talk.  We told him more about the adoption process and what we were expecting. 

During the conversation my husband mentioned we'd be sending in the application next week!  Yay!!  Let's hope this holds true.

But the weird part was, my father said, "This is a noble thing you're doing".  Noble?  And he didn't say it just once.  He must have said it at least four times. 

The definition of noble is: possessing, characterized by, or arising from superiority of mind or character or of ideals or morals.  Superiority?  I'm not arising above others because of my moral obligation to adopt.  I just decided, I want a little girl, and I want her from China.  End of story.  It seems more selfish than a grand calling or whatever.

It made me feel uncomfortable.  I just ignored it.  He's so happy; I can't tell him not to say that.  But choosing to adopt or have a child, is all the same to me.  It's just choosing to be a parent.  I don't think it's noble.  It's normal.

I hope it doesn't come up again.  If it does I'll have to think of how to tell him it's not noble.  It just is. 
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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Waiting on the Husband

Well, my husband's parents haven't really talked to us.  He has chatted with them about weather and house projects, but adoption hasn't come up.  I guess they're ignoring it now.

I really haven't thought that much about them and what they think.  What I've been obsessing about is getting the application turned in.

My husband just got the passwords to info from work to access information that we have to fill out to finish our application.  So I'm hoping we can get this completed.  It's one thing to wait for other companies, but when it's your husband, it's hard not to pull your hair out.  I try to be understanding, but when I ask about any updates, he says he's doing all he can, and he's juggling a lot of priorities, and seems agitated I brought it up. 

But what can I do?  I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't.  I'm curious if he's holding out until he gets his parents blessing.  I don't know.  I ask how he feels, and as usual, he tells me everything is fine, just stress at work, or the tiling, or his neck ache, whatever.  So I just let him be as I'm just adding to whatever stress he wants to deal with internally.

So I wait until my husband is ready or when he can get all the info collected to fill out and FINALLY send in the application.  But if I can't talk to my best friend, my husband, about wanting to get going and get started who do I talk to?
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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Oops, I Did It Again!

Call it retail therapy.  And if so, this is going to be a long therapy session and expensive. 

I have baby Ashton's room decorated in my head.  I hope when the time comes to really decorate it, that I can make it as close to the image in my head as possible. 

With the amazing bedroom or nursery, are the amazing toys I imagine.  Not your everyday, run of the mill toys, but toys that have meaning.  Not saying that she won't get everyday toys, because everyday toys get "loved", so you want the nice ones to stay nice... or as much as possible.

Anyhow, I don't want to just get commercialized items.  I want there to be a sense of love in each item for her.  So of course I've look on and off for beautiful Asian type dolls.  Ashton can have any race of doll she wants, but I do want to find a few that she can connect with.  But then again I don't want her to think she can only have Asian dolls.  So I want a good mix, to show every color is beautiful.  But of course I have to at least start of with a good Asian base of dolls to start with.

I don't want just any Asian doll(s).  Again, only ones that speak to me or seem to have meaning. 

Anyhow, I love Etsy.  I've gone on there many times looking at nursery ideas, baby clothing ideas, and fun toys... I've so need to learn to sew!  I never wanted to before, but now I want to sew Ashton blankets, clothes, and all sorts of stuff.  I'll have to put a used sewing machine (that embroiders of course) on my Christmas list.

On Etsy, I found this amazing rag doll.  It's sort of Asian feel but not overly so.  Most rag dolls can cost a lot and not have this detail.  This doll was a steal! I love a good find!

Anyhow, this doll is called a Kyoko Yoneyama style doll.  And what I love about her is that her hair is blue.  So it's like this doll could be any race or color, but has a hint of the Chinese about her.  So I feel it's more an open race doll with some Asian highlights - if that makes sense. 

Also what makes this doll special is that it reminds me of a doll I loved from Rainbow Brite.  I had the Indigo doll.  She had a deep purple costume and had purple highlights in her hair.  I thought she was beautiful.

The blue hair of this doll reminds me of her.  And the tiny nose and round cheeks... just gives me a feel for the doll I used to have.

So here is a picture of the Rainbow Brite's Indigo doll I had.  Again, VERY different dolls, but gave a hint of nostalgia for me.  And reminded me of her.

Also, being from Etsy, she's one of a kind. The seller made the doll herself, so she's an original. That makes her extra special.

I love all the detail in the doll.  The braided hair, the jeans with the little butterflies, and I like that she's in jeans and not just a dress like most dolls.  I think that makes her more fun.

So now I have 2 dolls for Ashton.  I can't wait for the doll to arrive.  I'm just curious where I will store her to keep her nice and clean.  I hope the shipping box is small enough to still keep her in.  We shall see.

The doll is approximately 14 inches tall.  And the maker stated, "She is a little floppy because I opted not to stuff her torso with the straw in an effort to make her more snugly."  Which is perfect. I can picture my little toddler pulling her around by her arm or hair. 

Isn't she beautiful?  She reminds me a little of the Waldorf dolls.  But I love this original doll.  I can imagine it was made just for my little girl.

I hope Ashton will enjoy her.
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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What's in a Name?

Well, I’m still waiting for my husband to finish getting the info from work for the application.  He put in messages on Monday, but they haven’t gotten back to him yet.  He told me that servers are down and problems a–muck, so who knows when we can get the final info to send off our application.

I was really hoping for August 1st, as it was so neat and tidy a start date to be “official” so-to-say.  But there are many official moments.  I just wanted to get started. 
So as there is no new news, I thought I may share some of our first bit of personal info. 
I have long had a name picked out for a daughter since I was little.  I never named any animals or dolls this name (Which I loved naming everything… including middle names.  I guess I’m a name junkie.) and always had it on reserve if I ever had a daughter.  It’s never been popular or over-used, thank goodness!
My husband heard the name and really likes it as well.  Though if he had to pick on his own, he said he would have named his daughter Coral.  He just really loves the name for some reason.

Anyhow, I saw a TV-miniseries long ago when I was in elementary school.  And one of the characters had this name and I fell in love with it.  Then the middle name I thought came from a movie where this little girl, the heroine, had the name, but I misunderstood it and found out I was wrong years later.  But regardless, I love the name I thought it was.  I love movies, books, theater and love names, so it would be obvious that I would name my child after names I heard from a story I saw, heard or read.

Now not to say, I won’t add part of her Chinese name to her middle name or some variation.  But for now I’m totally in love with the name: Ashton Kendall.
Ashton is from the miniseries “North and South”.  And I thought Kendall was from “Ewoks of Endor”, but her name is Cindall.  I prefer Kendall.  So regardless how I found them, I love them and how they sound together.
So this is the name I’ve dreamed about.  And it’s so odd to hear my mother and friends say her name.  It was always “daughter”, “baby”, or “future girl”, but to hear “Ashton” or “Ashton Kendall” from someone else’s lips seems so strange to me.  I also hear my mom say “Little Ashton” or “Miss Ashton” which is so cute.
I wish I could say the names meanings are impressive.  But Ashton means Ash tree.  And Kendall means by the river Kent.  So unless there is an Ash tree by the river Kent in which I can take her photo by, it really won’t have any cool deep meaning.  The only meaning that cares is that it puts a song in my heart.
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Monday, August 1, 2011

More Disappointment

Now my husband's sister has joined the chorus of his parents point-of-view.  She's telling us we don't want to adopt.  She encouraging his mother!  And they're finding all the bad (possibly made up) stories of failed China adoptions.

And to top it all off, we have to help his sister move homes today!  Sigh!! 

Why do other people think they know what we want or what is best for them?  Everyone is different and we should coexist.  The world is a rainbow, enjoy other people's color perspective.  If everything and everyone's opinions were the same, there'd only be one color in the rainbow.  How boring! 

I was nervous to tell my family and thought my husband's family would be excited.  It's the opposite.  I find this strange.  I just wish we'd have the support and weren't meeting with all this hostility. 

Hopefully, tonight  being around each other for a few hours, maybe we can help them accept the facts and at least not fight it.
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